The Flak badge of the Army was instituted on 18/7/41 by the OKH to bring the Army in line with the other two services. Like both the Navy and Luftwaffe award, the Army Flak badge was awarded on a points system. However, unlike the Luftwaffe badge, the Army recipient could qualify for the award by destroying both ground and air targets. This point system (for the Army) worked on the basis of the soldier acquiring 16 points before he could qualify for the award of this badge.
Points were earned in the following manner:
- Destroying an enemy aircraft Four points
- For aiding the destruction of an enemy aircraft Two points.
- Sound crew (radar) for “First detection of an enemy aircraft”. One point.
- Searchlight operators for “First detection of an enemy aircraft”. One point.
If the individual was awarded the Iron Cross or War Merit Cross, he automatically qualified for the Army flak award. This was also the case for those Artillery and Flak soldiers killed in the line of duty. The award was made on an individual basis and the flak commander only became eligible after half of his men had received this award. The badge itself is made up of an oval oak leaf wreath with the central design consisting of an 88mm anti-aircraft gun, with the barrel pointing to the right coming through the wreath. This design is so far, identical to the Luftwaffe badge, but this is where the similarity ends, and as a Wehrmacht eagle with wings pointing down is placed at the top of the Army Badge, whereas the Luftwaffe type has the “Flying Luftwaffe Eagle holding a swastika” (Identical to their tunic eagle) attached by solder to the top of the wreath. The Army badge is of a one piece construction with the hinge and hook more often than not separately applied. The first badges produced were of a quality metal like tombac with a silver plate applied. This later gave way to fine zinc with a silver wash. Finally the badge was issued in grey zinc. It should be noted that although the metal quality declined, the detail to the badge was still very well defined.
We have so far noted the following original makers marks on the Army flak badge;-
- A.( Hermann Aurich Dresden),
- S, (Rodolf Souval)
- E. Juncker Berlin SW
- E. Juncker Berlin SW68
- M (Unknown)
- H. WIEN
- L/21, (Forster & Barth, Pforzheim)
- L/56, (Funke & Bruninghaus)
- unmarked but known STEINHAUER & LUCK
It is highly probable that there are other makers who have not been recorded.
Due to the limited number of Army Flak units, this badge is more scarce than its Luftwaffe counterpart and as such has been heavily reproduced. The best copies are maker marked W.H. WIEN. The main give away on this is that the copy has a bottom hook mounted within a catch plate wereas the original is not. This particular copy is manufactured in Austria. Other reproduction marks encountered have been the L/10 logo, G.B., and SBW to name a few.
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